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The hypothetical force particles believed to bind quarks into “elementary” particles. Although theoretical models in which the strong interactions of quarks are mediated by gluons have been successful in predicting, interpreting, and explaining many phenomena in particle physics, free gluons remain undetected in experiments (as do free quarks). According to prevailing opinion, an individual gluon cannot be isolated.
According to quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the mediators of the strong interaction are eight massless vector bosons, which are named gluons because they make up the “glue” that binds quarks together. It is hoped that the infinite range of the forces mediated by the gluons may help to explain why free quarks have not been isolated. The gluons themselves carry color. Hence, strong interactions among gluons will also occur through the exchange of gluons. It is therefore believed that gluons, as well as quarks, may be permanently confined. According to this view, only colorless objects may exist in isolation. See Elementary particle, Quantum chromodynamics, Quarks